Posts Tagged ‘Holland River’

crossing a river and marking history on Davis Drive

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

crossing a river and marking history on Davis Drive

Earlier this week we helped the Town of Newmarket celebrate the history of transportation in Newmarket, at the Keith Bridge on Davis Drive.

The Keith Bridge crosses the Holland River, which was an important centre of the original village in the early 1800s, with a grist mill, tannery, and the earliest settlers nearby. The trade routes from the old market of “York” in the south [now City of Toronto] to this “new market” in the north were important, and led traders and settlers to destinations farther north. In the early 1800s Yonge Street was built, following a branch of the Toronto Carrying-Place Trail used by natives and traders. About 50 years later the first railroad came to Newmarket, following the Holland River near Newmarket’s current Main Street.

Davis Drive played an important role in connecting Yonge Street to the railway and market near Main Street, and over time developed into a place of homes and businesses. In recent years, the Tom Taylor Trail has connected Newmarket with a beautiful place to bike and walk, including crossing under the Keith Bridge.

When the vivaNext project built the Keith Bridge as part of the Davis Drive rapidway, it was transformed from a utilitarian bridge going unnoticed by passersby, into an attractive landmark. It’s not just about appearance though. The Keith Bridge is wider, allowing for the new rapidway lanes and wider sidewalks for pedestrians. Construction also included improved utility lines under the bridge and of course the infrastructure itself, built to last for generations.

We hope that as everyone crosses, they’re reminded of the history of the river, the road and Newmarket. If you’re walking, be sure to stop and take a close look at the beautiful series of historical plaques along the bridge. As we celebrate Canada Day, it is wonderful to preserve a piece of history.